Trying to select out the best Protea Starting XI during tomorrow’s 1st ODI v Sri Lanka in Dambulla

Tomorrow South Africa will begin their One Day Journey v Sri Lanka at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium in Dambulla.

The visitors have plenty of work to do following their recent 2-0 disastrous test series defeat.

It’s a five-match game between the two sides that we’ll see over the next two weeks.

Then they will have the chance to conclude their overseas tour on a high with a lone T20I match.

For now, let’s pick the best possible Protea XI for tomorrow’s 1st One Day International at their home turf.

1. Opening Batsman

Aiden Markram will slot in where he’s under some pressure from his recent 10-20 run scores during his recent test performances.

So tomorrow will be a big test to see if his form can return to at least a half-knock or more.

Alongside batting with Markram will be Reeza Hendricks.

He performed well with the bat at a score of 40 two days ago v the Sri Lankan Board XI.

With Hendricks played three International games in the shortest-form match, Ottis Gibson has to give him more of an opportunity to see how he will go in the International 50-Over scene.

Fans cannot get enough over Quinton De Kock & Hashim Amla’s dismal form at recent times.

It’s best that the selectors give their hand at experimenting with a different opening pair.

2. Top Order at first & second drop

Faf Du Plessis will as always captain the side and bat at first drop.

He has a big task at hand especially since he missed out during since the 2nd game of the Indian ODI tour at home.

Not sure why the selectors dropped him after scoring a well deserved 120 during the 1st 50-Over game.

But Cricket South Africa chose to experiment with different players when looking at results, so they asked Faf to sit out and prepare for tests.

Sure he’ll do fine since he racked up both near half-centuries at recent times in the red-ball game.

Let’s see if his ODI form with the bat continues to smash tomorrow.

Alongside Du Plessis will be JP Duminy.

Duminy has come here well prepared to show what he has to offer both bat and ball.

The last time he played an ODI was during the sixth & final game v India at PPC Newlands in Cape Town five months ago.

He made a glancing direct hit on Virat Kohli when it comes to fielding.

But he didn’t make any wickets nor got off the mark with a score of only one.

Though, he did prepare likewise v the Sri Lanka Board XI where he scored 19 and picked up 1/16.

Expect him to make a prominent role with shaping up at Number 4 plus some over with his right arm off-spin.

3. Middle-Order at five, six & seven

David Miller as always will pad up at five.

He scored not as consistent with a score of 36 during his last ODI match v India plus 40 v the Sri Lankan board two days ago.

If any of the Top 4 batsmen get out early, then Miller has to be South Africa’s hope with the recovery on the run home.

Moving down at Number 6 will be Heinrich Klaasen.

Klaasen is making a significant impact having scored 54 during his last ODI game.

He employs some of the excellent shots that reminisces the likes of MS Dhoni and Jos Buttler.

Whenever he bats as soon as he comes into the crease, expect Klaasen to try and finish off with significant boundaries as the best he can.

Plus he will give his additional expertise behind the scenes with the gloves.

Rounding out at seven will be Wiaan Mulder.

He was one of the best performers two days ago v the Sri Lankan board XI with a score of 56 & 3/12.

Ottis Gibson has to select Mulder into his starting squad as soon as tomorrow.

Not only he can make a late impact with the bat such as a few boundaries in place.

But Mulder can also form an excellent seamer attack with Kagiso Rabada & Lungi Ngidi.

4. Lower Order from eight to eleven

Keshav Maharaj will bat at eight as he looks to build on his outstanding bowling performance last week in red-ball cricket.

If a specialist batsman needs a hand before the innings, then Maharaj can bat a bit regarding closing in a late score.

Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi will form two of the three frontline fast bowling attack at nine & ten respectively.

And Tabraiz Shamsi completes the Protea Starting XI for tomorrow’s first ODI at Dambulla.

Shamsi would’ve kept his place during the second test last week as wished they would’ve played another frontline spinner.

However, it’s sad to say that Shamsi had to return home for a while over his father’s death.

And the Proteas had to make a late gamble with one spinner and three seamers in which their red-ball performance continued to grow a lot worse.

Predicted Protea Starting XI v Sri Lanka tomorrow

  1. Aiden Markram
  2. Reeza Hendricks
  3. Faf Du Plessis (Captain)
  4. JP Duminy
  5. David Miller
  6. Heinrich Klaasen
  7. Wiaan Mulder
  8. Keshav Maharaj
  9. Kagiso Rabada
  10. Lungi Ngidi
  11. Tabraiz Shamsi


It’s a tough test as always as we transition into the 50-over mode over the next fortnight.

Cricket South Africa should choose the best of what we saw v the Sri Lanka Board XI the other day.

That way Ottis Gibson can have a hard time which players to choose and balance out the best XI that is well 50-over focused.

With the conditions still hot over in Sri Lanka, spin is going to dominate most of this match.

So wise choice here to balance out two spinners & three fast bowlers.

Let’s see if this predicted Starting XI would be enough to upset the home side by tomorrow night.


Author: Sports Benches

Matthew Nicholas, the founder/blogger/vlogger on Sports Benches, is an aspiring cricket player & passionate sports fanatic who lives in Sydney, Australia.

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